Looking at this past two years, it’s simultaneously amazing to me that two years ago was just two years ago. On the one hand, it’s been incredibly fast, and it’s hard to believe it’s been two years, and on the other hand, two years ago seems like a lifetime ago. In a way, it was.
On the very day that the nation watched hurricane Katrina roll through the south, steamrolling New Orleans, Alissa and I were oblivious and would essentially remain so for another couple of days. We had no idea the destruction that took place, no idea about the devastation of lives that occured, and we were perfectly happy about that. Not maliciously so, understand. We were just a little preoccupied: at 2:53 pm on that day, we welcomed our little girl into the world.
So, when I say that two years ago feels like a lifetime ago, I mean it. They say life-changing events have a way of altering your perception, and I agree. There was the previous 32 years and 6 months, and now there’s the last 24 months, and counting. I’ve lived two lives in one, and while one life afforded a certain amount of freedom, this new one, 24 months young, sacrifices that freedom for the kind of beautiful dependence a child has on her parents. And let me emphasize that those 24 months have been amazing and incredibly entertaining in ways I could never have expected. People warned us about what we’d be giving up, that we needed to get out and enjoy our freedom because it would be nearly two decades before we’d get it back – but that our sanity would likely never return. On that last point, I have to agree. Being a parent is as stressful as it is fun, but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It’s good stress.
You may wonder what Death Cab for Cutie and Opeth, a disparate pairing of bands if there ever was one, have to do with all of this. On the day after Amanda was born, these two albums were released. Tied up in the hospital with our new responsibility, I, of course, neglected these two releases for a few days, but, when out to purchase some kind of baby-related items at Target – the first of many, many trips in coming weeks – I slipped across the street to Best Buy where I grabbed a copy of each (Plans and Ghost Reveries, respectively).
As so often happens, neither album is my favorite by either band, but, for a couple of weeks there, these two occupied my drives pretty much anywhere, and I got to know them in a way that I might not have had I not been so preoccupied with our new daughter. Lacking the ability to concentrate, or really even think, I simply left the discs in my truck for quick access. They might otherwise have slipped into the collection in lieu of other, stronger things to listen to. The timing and the intense exposure to only these two albums leaves me with a very soft feeling toward the two. I simply can’t be critical – memories of that time are inextricably tied around the music, and the music is tied to that time. Any attempt to separate them is like any attempt to separate your child from your life. It all becomes wound up, everything together in a big, beautiful knot of complexity. I’m perfectly fine with that.